Hanesbrand spokesman Matt Hall called USAS' claims "ridiculous," though he said later the wage freeze "could have been part of an offer" during contract negotiations, which are ongoing.
"Why they're going out and spewing these sorts of things is incomprehensible," said Hall. He said group was "trying to pick fights with celebrities and other people, it just doesn't make any sense." Hall said there was no truth to the findings of the WRC investigation, which were "hyperbole, viewpoint-driven" by the group, which he alleged was "funded by organized labor."
WRC says it takes no money from unions or private companies, but gets its funding from universities, the U.S. Department of State, and charitable foundations unconnected to unions or manufacturers. A union economist and several members of USAS sit on the group's 15-member governing board, but WRC does not coordinate its actions with either group, according to its executive director, Scott Nova.
"We have absolute confidence in the veracity of our conclusions, some of which have been confirmed by Hanes' own admissions," Nova told ABC News. He noted that after his group released its findings on the Dominican factory last year, Hanesbrands changed its overtime policy at the plant.
"We have to keep this plant economically viable," Hanesbrands spokesman Hall said while discussing the workers' economic demands, such as wage increases. "In 1965, our T-shirts were advertised, a 5-pack for $4.99. Today you can go out to a store and find a 7-pack for $4.99," he said. "Those are the economics of the apparel business."
Hewitt is not the first celebrity to find herself in USAS' sights for working with Hanesbrands. Last year USAS launched a campaign themed "Six Degrees of Exploitation," targeting actor Kevin Bacon, who was also a celebrity model for the manufacturer.
Bacon's publicist told ABC News the campaign began just as Kevin's contract was ending, but that he helped arrange a meeting between USAS and Hanesbrands to discuss the students' concerns.